All things end, as they must. Those balmy fall nights turn chilly – the competition amps up for the competitors, the ball finally comes to rest. Football season for us, wrapped up for the year, and for seniors, the finality of it all echoes, first there’s an end to the sport most have played their whole lives, then there’s the end of high school, an end to childhood, an end to carefree days.
“Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes…” *
So that last game, we choose to block out the bad and remember the way it should have been: Riley threw the ball with precision and became the leader his team thought he could be. Mr. Fletcher ran, like the winged Hermes upon green grass, upon fake turf and he scored like he never scored before. He will go down in HHS history as the Running Back (at least, for awhile). Mr. Hunter who played both offense and defense with ease; wherever they needed him, that’s where he was – strong, quick, spot-on.
“In the sun that is young once only
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means”
The formidable defense who let nobody score (well at least that much anyway), continues the game on and on in a continuum, denying points on so many games, tough at their very center where #42 was the anchor. This was the boy who started out, young and a bit chubby, never very quick, never very good, never getting to play, but always sticking with it until one day when he went out on the field and somehow, it all came together.
“And fire green as grass
And nightly under the stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away…”
This boy made a little place for himself, a sideline news clip here and there, a video shot in a sport where no star stays front and center long – in a game that demands the utmost from the young and strong. No need to feel bad, coming off that field of defeat – the team you played will most likely suffer that next loss.
“In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways…”
Instead Bearcats, team of black and gold, I say take your memories, particularly these wonderful fall nights, put them inside the trunk of life, open them up some starry night and maybe tell a younger version of yourself about the goals and glories of football back in the day.
“And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea”
*Fern Hill – Dylan Thomas, one of the most beautiful poems in the English language….